Camping With Dogs

luv hikingDeb D’Andrea, Nederland.  This year I’ve been camping with my Girls, Tiki, Bear, and Sally, all over Colorado, and have had a great time. When I bring the Girls it changes what I can do, as I never leave them alone in the tent. With an RV, it is easier to leave them alone; but even then the heat can become too much.

Before heading out, it is good to check the weather where you are going to ensure it won’t be too hot for them overall. I had planned on going to Lake Powell, but changed my mind when I saw the average temperature was over 100 degrees! We’ll save that for later.

Packing for the pups is pretty straightforward, with food and water being number one. It is important to bring water with you they are used to drinking at home, as other water can upset their systems – especially tap water, which varies substantially from city to city. I found if I ran out of water, picking up spring water at the grocery store didn’t upset their stomachs. I’ve also found more places carry a variety of dog foods should I decide to extend our trip and need more.

With temperatures varying so greatly between the heat of the day and cool of night, it is good to be sure they are comfortable at night. If the temperature gets too cold, you’re likely to find a pup curled up under the sleeping bag with you! Granted, that’s nothing new in my house; I’m used to sharing a pillow or two with the Girls.

Dog clothes are readily available, from boots to dog packs to personal flotation devices (PFDs); there is something for every dog adventurer. Dog boots are good if you are hiking rugged territory, as they help protect your dog’s feet from sharp jagged stones or the heat of the day. Tiki loves her boots during winter as they protect her feet from the snowy cold. Bear and Sally aren’t so much about the boots as they have different toe fur and can withstand the colder temperatures.

Dog packs are a great way to bring along water and snacks for your pup. Be careful loading them, as some dogs can carry about 10% of their weight, while others can carry upwards of 25%. The weight to be carried is an individual thing based on your dog; and a proper fit is essential to the pack being comfortable without restraining overall movement or causing your pup to overheat. An ideal pack will have a handle on the top, which is good to help your dogs should they need assistance.

If you are heading near water or going boating, a PFD is key in helping keep your dogs safe should they fall into the water. As with the dog packs, a proper fit is essential so that the PFD doesn’t slip off, leaving the dog struggling in the water. The brighter the PFD the better, as visibility is mandatory in the water, both for you and other boaters to be able to see your pups; or if they should accidentally fall into the creek!

There are many more gadgets and considerations when taking your pup out camping, from dog harnesses to GPS beacons to dog tents and cooling collars. For my Girls, they are always with me, never left alone in the tent or tied up outside when I’m away. That provides peace of mind for me, knowing they’re having as much fun as I and are safe!

Till next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, and other critters. 4TheLuvOfDogz home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or for more information.

Deb D'Andrea

Deb D’Andrea, columnist for The Mountain Ear, and founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and visits your home or Vet to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2018 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: